Course List

Code Course Description
HUMS 1400

Urban Challenges Interdisciplinary

This course provides an introduction to key themes, concepts and approaches to the urban environment. Cities are the sites of complex interconnections, generating a multiplicity of cultural, social, economic and political forms and spaces. An interdisciplinary approach will be adopted to identify and delineate new connections that arise from this confluence. The course will include speakers from a variety of perspectives, both in and outside of the College, bringing their expertise and experience to bare on urban problematics. In addition to gaining an exposure to the different areas of study, students will also acquire analytical tools useful for critical reflection on the ways in which we experience and explain the urban environment and strive to meet its challenges.

PHIL 1101

Critical Thinking

This course examines the basic nature of reasoning and the fallacies which prevent good reasoning. Emphasis will be on understanding the logical structure of argument and on recognizing the influence of emotional and rhetorical persuasion in media presentations, political discussions, advertisements, general academic writings and one’s own arguments. Students may also have the opportunity for their own arguments to be assessed by others. Both the theory and practice of critical thinking are covered. There is a greater emphasis upon the popular presentation of oral and written arguments than in PHIL 2201. Critical Thinking is highly recommended to all students in occupational and academic programs, and provides an important foundation for further work in Philosophy.

PHIL 1102

Values and Contemporary Issues

How can we develop answers to questions of value in our complex age? How can we think more clearly and humanly about issues confronting our lives and our society? How can we live as aware beings who are genuinely responsive to our own needs and to the needs of others? This course considers such questions by exploring the moral and human issues involved in such topics as abortion, capital punishment, racial and sexual discrimination, individual liberty, the “moral majority”, capitalism, and technology. The course also pursues such questions by endeavouring to lead the student to an understanding of the more deeply rooted philosophical problems which give rise to our perplexities concerning such moral issues. This course will serve as a foundation for further work in philosophy (Note: the format and topics may vary. Some course sections may focus more extensively on issues in medical ethics, others on issues pertaining to the relation of morality to the law, and still others on different topics. Therefore, individual instructor’s course descriptions should be consulted.)

PHIL 1103

Knowledge, Reason & Experience

What if anything do we really know? How do we know it? When do we really have knowledge as opposed to mere belief or opinion? This course will consider these questions in the context of traditional philosophical problems about the nature and possibility of personal, religious, metaphysical, scientific, and logical knowledge. Ideas of philosophers such as Plato, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, James, and Wittgenstein will also be considered. Students will be given the opportunity to develop self reflectively their own positions on matters which may be of philosophical concern to them, such as scepticism, free will, or religious knowledge. PHIL 1103 will serve as a foundation for further work in philosophy and is highly recommended as an elective for students in all other areas.

PHIL 1121

Medical Ethics

This course examines the rights of patients and clients and the obligations of medical and other health care practitioners. Students will be briefly introduced to the fundamentals of ethical theory and decision-making, and will examine the ways in which moral decisions are made in practice. Issues to be addressed include disclosing information to patients, interfering with a patient’s liberty for their own good, limits to the protection of patient confidentiality, end-of-life decision-making, protections for humans and animals in experimentation, respect for cultural diversity, and fairness in the allocation of scarce health care resources. The ethical dimensions of topics such as refusal of medical treatment, genetic testing, safe injection sites, the autonomy of elderly and mentally challenged patients, and the growing dominance of the medical model of health may also be considered.

PHIL 1122

Business Ethics

What place does ethics have in business? What responsibilities, if any, do managers and professionals have to society? Are corporations moral agents with moral responsibilities distinct from the responsibilities their managers may have as individuals? What rights should workers have to health and safety in the workplace? What rights to equality and non-discrimination do applicants, workers, and managers have? How should any existing inequalities be addressed? Just how loyal should worker and manager have to be? Is there really anything wrong with deception and dishonesty in order to further important ends? What place does ethics have in advertising? In international business interactions? When questions of the environment arise? This course will consider many of these questions, and other related issues. Students will be briefly introduced to the fundamentals of ethical theory and decision making, and to their applications.

PHIL 1135

Asian Philosophy

What are the limits of human experience? What is the ultimate ground of existence? In what does self-realization consist, and what path or paths are best followed in pursuit of self-realization? These central questions of philosophy have received distinctive answers within the various traditions of Asian philosophy. In this course we will be exploring the variety of responses to these questions given by Asian philosophers, and particularly the responses of the Vedantists, the early Buddhists, the Taoists, Confucians, and Zen Buddhists. Emphasis will be on the doctrines of Universal Self, no-self, the Way, humanistic wisdom, and enlightenment, and on the relevance of these to contemporary philosophical, ethical, environmental, and political concerns.

PHIL 1151

Society and the Individual

This course introduces students to philosophical reasoning about social, political and moral existence. Issues and theories raised by such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche and Marx, as well as by contemporary philosophers will be explored. Topics may include: political obligation, social and political liberty, human nature, egoism, relativism, utilitarianism, and autonomy. Students will be encouraged to develop their own thinking about the topics covered. This course is recommended to students who want an introduction to fundamental philosophical ideas as part of their liberal arts education. It will also serve for a foundation for further work in Philosophy.

PHIL 1152

Reality and Existence

This course introduces students to philosophical reasoning about reality and human nature. Metaphysical questions raised by traditional and contemporary philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, and Sartre) will be considered, and a variety of answers will be explored. Topics may include: mind and body, personal identity, the self, consciousness, God, the nature of metaphysics, free will and life after death. Students will be encouraged to develop their own thinking about the issues covered. This course may be taken by those who want an introduction to fundamental philosophical ideas as part of their liberal arts education. It will also serve for a foundation for further work in Philosophy.

PHIL 1170

Philosophy and Religion

This course introduces students to the main philosophical ideas involved in major world religions. Some of the following topics will be considered: what religion is, the problem of evil, the nature of mysticism, various concepts of God, types of considerations for accepting spiritual reality, the relation between reason and faith, comparison of eastern and western approaches to religious existence, and an examination of sociological and psychological accounts of religious belief. Students will be encouraged to develop their own philosophical assessment of the issues covered.

PHIL 1180

Philosophy of Love

This course will provide students with an introduction to Philosophy by considering the nature of love and sexual desire. The main focus of the course includes fundamental questions regarding how love is to be understood, questions such as: is love one phenomenon with several different forms, or do we misleadingly name entirely different experiences with the same word? What is the relationship between love and sexual desire? Does erotic love require exclusivity and faithfulness? Why is erotic love identified with the social institution of marriage? Is love a powerful emotion which overtakes us, or can we rationally choose the person we love? Why do we sexually desire persons other than the person we love? Is love an expression of self-sacrifice or self-affirmation? What is the relationship between love and happiness? The course will consider answers to questions such as these, questions provided by both contemporary philosophers, as well as thinkers representative of the great traditions in Philosophy.

PHIL 1190

Philosophy and Science

This course introduces students to the philosophy of the natural and social sciences. The course examines methodology, explanation, and the nature of the world revealed by scientific study. Students will explore how science differs from other forms of inquiry, and consider whether science operates with one method or many, whether method(s) in the natural sciences are appropriate for study in the social sciences, and the relationships between observation, evidence, hypotheses, and theories in the natural and social sciences.

PHIL 2123

Environmental Ethics

This course is focused on our ethical understanding of, and our obligations to, the
environment, and on notions such as ecological citizenship, urban philosophy, ecological diversity, and sustainability. It considers the significance of the various components of the environment—forest, land, wilderness, species, ecosystems, and cities—and critically examines the claim that the value of these components are directly dependent upon human needs and interests. The course also evaluates the importance of the interests of future generations of humans, and of non-human animals.

Among the questions addressed in this course are: How high of a priority should the developing global community make the protection of the environment? Are concerns about ecological diversity and sustainability compatible with a competitive international economic market? How should we treat natural resources, such as oil, water, potash, fish, etc.? How much might socio-economic systems have to be changed and in what direction? How should we plan and modify our cities to meet our environmental concerns and obligations? How should our food and consumer choices reflect our environmental commitments? This course will attempt to uncover and explicate the fundamental assumptions involved in the various stances taken on these questions.

PHIL 2201

Logical Reasoning

This course enables students to develop their ability to reason by introducing them to elements of formal reasoning. The primary focus will be on recognizing the logical structure of arguments. Topics will include types of statements, symbolism, logical connectives, logical relations, basic deductive inferences, truth tables, validity, invalidity, and soundness; and may include, in addition, inductive reasoning and the testing of scientific hypotheses. Emphasis will be upon acquiring a basic working knowledge of propositional and predicate logic.

PHIL 2220

Philosophy of Education

This course will provide students with an opportunity to consider a variety of educational issues from a philosophical perspective. The course will explore general questions such as: What is the ultimate goal of education? How is education different from social indoctrination? Should education aim at making good citizens? What should be taught and what is the most effective way to teach it? What are the roles of reason and autonomy in learning? Should education limit itself to imparting literacy, numeracy, and various kinds of skill and information, or should teachers also strive to influence the character and values of their students? In addition to these, various specific topics of current interest in the philosophy of education may be explored, such as: academic freedom; access to education; educational testing and measurement; fairness in education; academic standards; the ethics of special education; religious education; propaganda in education; sex education; education and career training.

PHIL 2245

Philosophy of Art

This course will present students with an opportunity to think philosophically about the nature of human creativity and to discuss specific works of art in music, painting and literature. The course provides students with an introduction to the main issues concerning the nature of art and of art works, including consideration of the question, “What is art?”, as well as inquiry into competing theories of art, such as art as expression, art as representation, and art as historical and/or institutional artifact. Some consideration may also be given to theories of aesthetic criticism which focus upon issues such as beauty, taste, personal experience, meaning and truth. The course may include analysis of the aesthetic theories developed by thinkers found within the history of philosophy, such as selections from Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Dewey, and/or selections from the writings of more contemporary philosophers, such as Benjamin, Danto, Gadamer, Derrida, Adorno, and Goodman.

PHIL 2250

Existentialism: Search for Self

Existentialism is a philosophy which focuses upon human existence and the ways in which humanity is unique. Our human situation is unique because, despite our similarities with other kinds of entities, both natural and artificial, we alone bear some responsibility for the fate of all things, including ourselves. Existentialism is concerned especially with the human predicament: our freedom and responsibility, the possibility of selfhood and the inevitability of death, the nature of time and the process of existing. Existential philosophers emphasize the place of emotions and imagination, myth and poetic truth in human experience, along with the traditional roles of reason and understanding. In addition to these themes, this course may consider topics such as: the death of God, nihilism, inwardness, authenticity, self-deception, ideology and technology. Representative thinkers may include: Kierkegarrd, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers, Buber, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir, and Camus.

PHIL 2280

Science & Society

This course explores the social dimensions of science and the influence of science on society. The course will introduce students to the philosophical issues that arise from the interaction between, on the one hand, aspects of society, such as public attitudes, moral values, law, truth in the media and, on the other, the theories and practices of science. Examples of the kinds of issues that may be discussed include: the relationship between science and religion; pseudo-sciences and scientific fraud; societal attitudes towards science, such as society's response to nuclear technologies and GMOs; the scientific research mandated by corporate profit; the social acceptability and costs of scientific technologies. This course will enable students to understand and critically reflect upon both the procedures utilized by the scientific community and the pressures faced by scientists as part of society. Students will examine the ways in which scientific evidence is created, evaluated, promoted, used and sometimes misused.

PHIL 2360

Philosophy and Feminist Thought

This course will examine philosophical aspects of issues raised by recent feminist thought in the areas of methodology, theories of knowledge, reality, science, and value. Some of the issues to be explored include the following: Are the differences that exist between women and men “natural” or are they the result of different social environments? Are the different ways of gaining knowledge influenced by gender? Does language reflect a male viewpoint which serves to reinforce inequalities in power and social relationships? Assuming gender inequalities exist, what accounts for them? What prospects are there for elimination of such inequalities? How important is their elimination? Does science, with its emphasis on control, reflect a male perspective? Are there “female”, as opposed to “male” approaches to scientific inquiry? What about approaches to morality and religion? This course will attempt to understand and assess the fundamental assumptions involved in the various stances taken in response to such questions.

PHIL 3125

Ethics for Psychiatric Nursing

Ethics is a crucial aspect of safe, competent mental health care. The patient population in mental health is vulnerable, stigmatized, and often oppressed. Psychiatric nurses must therefore pay particular attention to ethics and ethical decision-making. This course will examine ethical theories, concepts, and principles, and consider how these are to be applied in the practical setting of the therapeutic relationship. Special attention will be given to ethical issues that arise frequently in the psychiatric setting.

This course is restricted to Psychiatric Nursing Diploma/Degree students.

PHIL 3300

Problems of Philosophy

This course will provide students with an introduction to Philosophy through a survey of those widely recognized problems characteristic of the discipline. The course will consider problems such as: freedom and determinism, the nature of reality, how knowledge is possible, the basis of moral judgments, the existence of God, theories of social justice, personal identity, the mind-body problem, the nature of beauty. The course will be based upon some number of thematically arranged readings drawn from contemporary and/or historical sources. This course is primarily intended to provide an upper level elective for students completing degree programs at Douglas.

PHIL 3310

Ancient Philosophy

Western philosophy was born in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and to those worlds belonged great minds who have continued to be a source of insight. Beginning as early as with the Pre-Socratics, this course will cover philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Pyrro, Lucretius, Epicurus, Epictetus, Sextus Empiricus,
Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus, Origen and Tertullian. The course may consider any number of the major themes found in ancient thought, including those derived from metaphysics and epistemology, as well as from ethics and politics. Students will read selections from major texts, as well as consider the work of important representatives from the main schools, such as the Cynics, the Skeptics, and the Stoics.

PHIL 3320


This course will provide students with an introduction to ethics or moral philosophy. The primary focus will be ethical theories philosophers have developed in their attempts to answer basic questions such as: How does one decide what is the right action? What does it mean to speak of the good life? What is the relation between morality and happiness, whether public welfare or personal satisfaction? When is someone morally responsible for their actions? The course will consider competing ethical theories such as egoism, relativism, virtue theory, deontology, utilitarianism, ethics of care and hedonism. Some consideration will be given to the place of reason and emotions in the determination of what is good or right, as well as to the relation between ethics and social acceptability. The relation between ethics and legality, as well as between ethics and rights, will also be examined. Ethical concepts such as duty, the good person, the right choice and/or action, moral principle, autonomy, imperative, moral agency, permissibility, civil disobedience, paternalism, conscience and social utility will be explained and discussed. The course will consider both "normative" ethical thinking – the kind of thinking anyone does when they consider what is right, good or obligatory; and "critical" (or "meta-ethical") thinking – the kind consideration given when someone provides justification for their notions of right, good or obligation. "Is it always right to tell the truth?" is a normative ethical question. "What is the nature of morality?" is a critical ethical question. Both normative and critical questions will be considered, although the latter will be pursued mainly as a way of clarifying the former.

PHIL 3330

Philosophy of Law

This course will provide a general philosophical analysis of law and legal institutions. The course will explore the nature and purpose of law as found in theories such as natural law theory, positivism and critical legal studies. Students will critically examine the justification of laws and how, if at all, the law is connected with morality. Additionally, the course will examine the nature of legal responsibility, and the purpose of and justification for punishment. The course may also look at the nature of legal reasoning in judicial decisions, for example Supreme Court decisions. Course readings may be selected from both historical and contemporary sources.

PHIL 3350

Philosophy of Mind

This course will provide students with an introduction to the study of mind, its place in nature and the world. We all describe ourselves as having minds. But there are very different ways in which we can understand what it is to have a mind. For example, is the mind physical or non-physical? Is there an immaterial soul which inhabits the body? How do sciences such as chemistry, biology, and psychology contribute to the study of mind? And how does the philosophical account of mind differ from such scientific explanations? This course may also consider the nature of cognition, as well as the relation between such thinking processes and the emotions. Some philosophers hold the view that thinking is nothing but computation, while others strongly reject such a view. Interpersonal relations also raise important issues: Can we know that there are other minds and, if so, how much can we know about the contents of other minds? What is the relation between our inner subjective experiences and the world outside our minds? This course may also discuss non-human animals, and in what sense animals may be said to have minds. So, too, there is the question of whether machines could possess a conscious intelligence comparable to the human mind. We are also interested in what, if anything, the identity of a person consists. What is the relation between the mind and consciousness, or between the mind and the self? The Philosophy of Mind addresses many divergent views and the various reasons for them in this vital area of philosophical study.

PHIL 3380

Contemporary Continental Philosophy

This course will provide students with an opportunity to study recent developments in the area of contemporary continental Philosophy. The course will include consideration of one or more of the philosophical movements in this area, such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, existentialism, structuralism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, feminism and critical theory. Consideration may be given to authors such as Husserl, Gadamer, Ricouer, Derrida, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Arendt, Lévi-Strauss, Lyotard, Foucault, Lacan, Irigaray, Binswanger, Deleuze, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas.

PHIL 4205

Sport Ethics

This course is an introduction to the study of philosophy and ethics, and their application to physical education, recreation and sport. Students will acquire an awareness of ethical conduct in sport and cultivate an effective deliberative process for dealing with ethical issues in sport. The course will begin by briefly considering the practice of philosophy, especially argument and critical thinking. Students will next learn about ethical theories and their application to specific issues in sport, including some of the following: sportsmanship as an ethical category; the ethics of competition; fair play as respect and reciprocity; cheating, self-deception and the use of performance enhancing drugs; the problem of racial and gender equality in sport. Students will be afforded the opportunity to assess theoretical frameworks that can serve as the basis for comprehensive ethical decisions, and to develop the practical facility to implement those decisions in specific, concrete situations.

PHIL 4706

Ethics in Therapeutic Recreation and Health Promotion

This course is an introduction to the study of philosophy and ethics, and their application to therapeutic recreation and health promotion. Students will consider basic ethical theories and concepts, as well as the competing ways in which these can be employed to resolve moral issues, in order to develop an ethical foundation for professional practice. The course will begin by briefly reviewing the practice of philosophy, especially reasoning, argument and critical thinking. Next, students will learn about ethical theories, including deontology and consequentialism, virtue theory, rights theory and ethical relativism. Finally, the application of such theories to ethical problems specific to professional practice – problems such as client autonomy, rights and obligations, informed consent, notions of well-being, sexuality, conflict of values, truthfulness, fairness – will be studied. Students will be afforded the opportunity to analyze theoretical frameworks which can serve as the basis for reasoned ethical decisions, and to develop the practical facility to implement those decisions in specific, concrete situations.

PHIL 4706 is restricted to students in the Therapeutic Recreation degree programme.